Murder detectives search Bethnal Green’s Nelson Gardens estate after stabbing

Tributes left at murder scene in Bethnal Green

Tributes left at murder scene in Bethnal Green - Credit: Archant

Police have been combing through a housing complex searching for a murder weapon after a man due to donate an organ to a relative died in hospital in east London from stab wounds.

RIP... Russel Brown

RIP... Russel Brown - Credit: Brown family

They searched through the gardens on Bethnal Green’s Nelson Gardens estate, off Hackney Road, after Russel Brown died on Sunday at the Royal London in Whitechapel—the hospital where he was due to undergo donor-transplant surgery.

The 26-year-old handyman had been stabbed 24 hours before on Saturday afternoon following what appears to be a running fight through the estate.

He had visited at a first-floor maisonette home of a friend and was later heard by neighbours screaming that his aunt was dying.

Moments later, witnesses spotted two men, one using a jacket to wipe blood from his face.

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens - Credit: Archant


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“I saw a guy come into the car-park screaming,” hair-stylist neighbour James Oxhey, 24, told the East London Advertiser.

“A couple came to calm him down, but he was still screaming, then they ran towards Hackney Road.

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“The two men come round the corner a few minutes later—one covered head-to-toe in blood. He was carrying a grey ‘hoody’ which he was using to wipe the blood off his face.”

It was the last he saw of the men as they ran off, past St Peter’s parish church heading towards Hackney Road, before police arrived.

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens - Credit: Archant

The air-ambulance helicopter landed in Warner Green open space in the next turning to air-lift Russel to the Royal London. A police helicopter circled overhead with a searchlight as darkness fell.

A ground-floor neighbour in Zander Court recalled: “There was a lot of shouting and the man ran screaming that (a relative) was dying and that no-one cares about it.

“I heard bottles breaking up there. There was a tremendous row going on.”

Russel had been due to donate a kidney to help save his aunt, it has since emerged. Ironically, only the day before he had been told by the Royal London that he was a suitable donor, his family told the press.

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens - Credit: Archant

Flowers and Russel’s photograph were left yesterday at the scene, which had been cordoned off by police, close to St Peter’s church.

Officers later returned early in the evening, while it was still light enough, to sift through the garden enclosure at the middle of the estate.

Church caretaker Dave Spencer, 59, who lives on the estate, said: “Forensic officers were working their way across the garden and looking on the turrets above people’s front doors.

“Detectives knocked on our doors and asked if we’d seen anything. You get gangs hanging around this estate picking up drugs—but I don’t think this was anything to do with that.”

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens

Murder Squad detectives in Nelson Gardens - Credit: Archant

Officers were making house-to-house inquiries all day yesterday. Specialist teams also lifted drain covers and looked in dustbins searching for the murder weapon used on Saturday.

No arrest has been made, but police are appealing for witnesses who were in the area between Hackney Road and Old Bethnal Green Road around 4.30 to 4.45pm on Saturday, or anyone with information, to call 101 or anonymously Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.

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